A Few Choice Words About Birth

The Source of the Human "No"

When a child is born, it comes out of a warm uterus, 37 degrees centigrade, into about 18-20 degrees centigrade. That's bad enough. The shock of birth...bad enough. But it could survive that if the following didn't happen: As it comes out, it is picked up by the legs and slapped on the buttocks. The first greeting is a slap. The next greeting: Take it away from the mother. Right? Take it away from the mother. I want you to listen here. It will sound incredible in a hundred years. Take it away from the mother. The mother must not touch or see the baby. The baby has no body contact after having had nine months of body contact at a very high temperature--what we call the "orgonotic body energy contact," the field action between them, the warmth, and the heat. Then, the Jews introduced something about six or seven thousand years ago--circumcision. I don't know why they introduced it; it's still a riddle. Take that poor penis. Take a knife--right? And start cutting. And everybody says, "It doesn't hurt." Everybody says, "No, it doesn't hurt." Get it? That's an excuse, of course, a subterfuge. They say that the sheaths of the nerves are not yet developed. Therefore, the sensation in the nerves is not yet developed. Therefore, the child doesn't feel a thing. Now, that's murder! Circumcision is one of the worst treatments of children. And what happens to them? Just look at them. They can't talk to you. They just cry. What they do is shrink. They contract, get away into the inside, away from that ugly world. I express it very crudely, but you understand what I mean. Now that's the greeting: Taking it away from the mother. Mother musn't see it. Twenty-four or forty-eight hours, eat nothing. Right? Penis cut. And then comes the worst: This poor child, poor infant, tries always to stretch out and to find some warmth, something to hold on to. It goes to the mother, puts its lips to the mother's nipple. And what happens? The nipple is cold, or doesn't erect, or the milk doesn't come, or the milk is bad. And that is quite general. That is not just one case in a thousand. That is general. That is average. So what does that infant do? How does it respond to that? How does it have to respond bioenergetically? It can't come to you and say, "Oh, listen, I'm suffering so much, so much." It doesn't say "No" in words, you understand, but that is the emotional situation. And we orgonomists know it. We get it out of our patients. We get it out of their emotional structure, out of their behavior, not out of their words. Words can't express it. Here, in the very beginning, the spite develops. Here the "No" develops, the big "NO" of humanity. And then you ask why the world is in a mess.
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From "The Source of the Human 'No' " by Wilhelm Reich (English translation 1984) Children of the Future. NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

For more on the influential works of Wilhelm Reich, see www.wilhelmreichmuseum.org